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Dubnyk back at practice after 'freak' injury

Veteran goaltender left game early Tuesday and missed Wild's game Thursday in Nashville

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /

ST. PAUL -- When Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk took a scary looking tumble early in the second period of a game Tuesday against Edmonton Oilers, it looked as though concussion protocol was where he was headed.

Turns out, the injury occurred before he had even hit the ice.

Wild forward Ryan Donato got tangled with Oilers forward Josh Archibald and Donato slid into his goaltender's crease, with Dubnyk leaping to try and get out of the way. Donato clipped Dubnyk, however, sending the 6-foot-6 goalie awkwardly to the ice, with the back of his head appearing to take the brunt of the damage. 

Dubnyk skated slowly off the ice and did not return to the game, but the ailment that forced him from that one, and kept him from making the trip to Nashville for Thursday's game had nothing to do with a concussion. Instead, Dubnyk sustained an injury to his side that occurred as he was clipped.

Video: EDM@MIN: Dubnyk leaves game after collision in net

"It was a muscle in my side when they ran into me," Dubnyk said following practice at TRIA Rink at Treasure Island Center on Friday. "It probably looked worse impact-wise hitting the ice than it actually was. The damage was done when they clipped my feet.

Doctors did put Dubnyk through concussion protocol as a precaution, but there were no issues there.

"I was pretty confused as to why because it was the last thing I was worried about," Dubnyk said. "But then I understood why after watching it."

After laying on his back on the ice in obvious pain, Dubnyk eventually rolled over -- a task made difficult by the injury he sustained -- and eventually got to his feet. Once standing, he thought he had escaped damage. 

But when he crouched back down and tried to push off, he felt a quick, sharp pain.

"It felt like I got hit by a bullet," Dubnyk said. "Right when I one-pushed to the side, it was pretty sharp. I was having a tough time just straightening myself up when I was on my hands and knees and a tough time rolling over when I was on my back. You use that part of your body for just about everything that you do. It makes you realize that when it gets hurt that you use it for just about everything. It's still there, but today I was pretty happy with being on the ice pretty quickly.

"It [stinks] day-to-day when the kids are chasing you around the house, but it's gotten significantly better the last couple of days."

Dubnyk said he was meeting with coaches and doctors later in the day on Friday to decide a best course going forward. While he didn't rule himself out for Saturday's contest against the Los Angeles Kings, he hinted a return Tuesday in Dallas might make more sense, as long as the healing process continues down its current track.

"Al [Stalock] has been giving us good efforts, so there's no reason that isn't an option," Dubnyk said. "I'll just talk to [head athletic trainer John Worley] and talk to the coaches and figure out what the plan is."

Eriksson Ek inches closer to return

The Wild got more good news on the injury front with Joel Eriksson Ek. The young centerman was also at practice for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury in Montreal eight days ago.

Eriksson Ek sustained the injuries during one second-period shift when he blocked three one-timers from the point by Montreal defenseman Shea Weber. Two of those shots hit Eriksson Ek in the skate and another in the shin pad.

Video: MIN@MTL: Eriksson Ek blocks three of Weber's shots

"You're so into the game, you just want to win so badly, you don't even think about it," Eriksson Ek said of the sequence. "That's a part of the game. I'm trying not to let them score and just play as hard as you can."

The damage was done on the two to the skate, however, as Eriksson Ek left Bell Centre that night in a walking boot and has missed the past three games. But he said he was feeling better on Friday. 

"It feels good," Eriksson Ek said. "It's never fun to be injured, but it feels better."

With Weber boasting one of the hardest shots in the NHL, teammates and coaches were galvanized by Eriksson Ek's show of bravery. 

"I don't think there's a coach in the world that doesn't love it when they see guys selling out for the team," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "That's what it's all about."

Greenway feeling better

Wild forward Jordan Greenway also left the game against Edmonton on Tuesday with what Boudreau confirmed Friday as a concussion. 

Greenway traveled with the team to Nashville, but woke up Thursday not feeling well. Boudreau said he was, however, feeling much better on Friday. 

"Just asked him and he said he felt pretty good," Boudreau said. "He rode the bike. I would anticipate him getting back on the ice sooner than later."

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